Knowledge vs. Wisdom

While Douthwaite is far from alone when stating that technological fixes are necessary to solve social problems, authors Johnston and Michael and Joyce Huesemann make equally strong and valid critiquing points. Johnstone too writes much about how technological innovation could resolve social issues, but he is sure to highlight the necessity of applying critical and balanced attention to this kind of progress. Johnstone would likely critique Douthwaite’s statements by asking to consider the implications of using technological fixes regarding ethics and social and political culture. In the Huesemann’s article, the focus on our relationship with nature and technology create an extremely important inquiry. We as humans operate upon a concept that we acquire a unique competence which allows us to transcend natural order. This idea as illustrated in the Huesemann’s article combats Douthwaites statements that no matter the moral, ethical, or legal implications of a technological fix, if it works, then it is an important contribution. I think the Huesemann’s would urge Douthwaite to consider natural order and interconnectedness as still an important driver of our world.

Technological fixes to social and environmental systems have negative repercussions because of human’s exponential reliance on imagined order. We believe that if a system seems long lasting and secure, then it is. However, we forget to consider what society would be in the event of a downfall or removal of imagined infrastructure. This being: technology, currency, politics, nationalism, religion, etc.. The further we move away (through technological innovation) from having to understand what stands at the core of our societies, I believe this creates a threat to our cognition; as stated in the Huesemann’s article, “while our knowledge continues to increase exponentially, out relevant ignorance does so even more rapidly”. Similarly, they highlight that it is impossible to understand all outcomes, positive and/or negative of our ability for incredible scientific and technological progress, and of this we must be weary. I do not believe this fact should halt progress, but rather force us to evaluate where we want to see society in the future and if it is a sustainable/beneficial outcome. We would certainly have to change course for such.